Overview

Described by Historic England as the ‘most important site for the history of explosives in Europe’.

The remarkable and beautiful landscape chronicles the development of explosives, propellants and finally rocket motors and fuels from the Civil War to the Cold War, including rare surviving WW1 factory buildings, and intriguing structures and earthworks.

The Royal Gunpowder Mills is a Scheduled Monument with over 20 listed buildings.  It is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for it wildlife.  Its alder woodland is undergoing conservation, and the site features a unique three level industrial canal system (now mostly dry).

Only the southern part of the site is accessible to the general public, where school activities and events take place and there are exhibitions about the history of the site and its manufacture, an armoury, an exhibition of rocketry, and a café. A number of the site’s many volunteers are people who worked here during its final incarnation as a top-secret research establishment to 1991. The northern part of the site awaits restoration and can normally only be viewed from a popular landtrain tour.

This property is viewable only through Invitation to View

Tour features

Tours of the out-of-bounds parts of the site will be led by a knowledgeable guide, entering particular interiors if appropriate. The tour will introduce participants to hidden architectural gems as well as the stories of the site and the purpose for which each structure was designed.

Directions

From J26 of M25, take A121 to Waltham Abbey; or from J25 of M25 go to Waltham Cross and then A121. 
Nearest station is Waltham Cross, connecting London Liverpool Street or Tottenham Hale underground (Victoria Line) to/from Cheshunt/Broxbourne/Hertford East. The site is a 25-minute walk east from the station, or there are buses and taxis.

Refreshments

Coffee, tea and cakes.

Access notes

Please note that while there is disabled access throughout the parts of the site for general visitors, including the landtrain tour, the ‘off route’ nature of this tour would be too hazardous.

Restrictions

Footwear must be suitably sturdy for walking on uneven terrain. The route covers approx two miles and there are no facilities or seating available during the walking part of the tour.

 

Interested? Click the button below to see available dates. If you're a member and are logged in you'll be able to see the discounted option also.


Opening
Opening

2019 tour dates

  • 16 March
  • 13 April
  • 18 May
  • 15 June
  • 20 July
  • 17 August
  • 21 September
  • 19 October
  • 16 November

Are you logged in?

Historic Houses members get discounts on all Invitation to View tours. Open the login page as a new tab, login, then refresh this page, or click login then search for this property using the search bar at the top.

 

Admission
Admission

All 2019 tours are £18.00 per person, with a discount for Historic Houses members.


Upcoming events

21 Sep 2019

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, Essex

Described by Historic England as the ‘most important site for the history of explosives in Europe’ the remarkable and beautiful landscape chronicles the development of explosives, propellants and finally rocket motors and fuels from the Civil War to the Cold War, including rare surviving WW1 factory buildings, and intriguing structures and earthworks.  
The Royal Gunpowder Mills is a Scheduled Monument with over 20 listed buildings.  It is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for it wildlife.  Its alder woodland is undergoing conservation, and the site features a unique three level industrial canal system (now mostly dry). 

Only the southern part of the site is accessible to the general public, where school activities and events take place and there are exhibitions about the history of the site and its manufacture, an armoury, an exhibition of rocketry, and a café. A number of the site’s many volunteers are people who worked here during its final incarnation as a top-secret research establishment to 1991. The northern part of the site awaits restoration and can normally only be viewed from a popular landtrain tour.

Tours of the out-of-bounds parts of the site will be led by a knowledgeable guide, entering particular interiors if appropriate. The tour will introduce participants to hidden architectural gems as well as the stories of the site and the purpose for which each structure was designed.